1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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Thread: Frame Upgrade

  1. #1
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    Frame Upgrade

    I purchased a Hardrock Sport Disc this February as my first bike. I have up graded almost all of the components on the bike except for the frame. A short list would be:
    Rock Shox Recon Gold
    Shimano Deore Brakes
    Roval Wheelset setup tubeless with Spec. Ground Control
    1x10 Drivetrain with SRAM X9 Components
    Upgrades to Stem, Handlebars, Seatpost and Seat

    The lbs shop that I purchased the bike from has a used 2011 Niner EMD for sale. I belonged to the shop manager that upgraded to an AIR9. The frame seems to be in good shape.

    My question is would the Niner frame be worth the upgrade? In addition to the frame I would buy a new headset and seatpost to make the frame work. So I need to figure in the cost. I wanted to get opinions on the difference in ride.

  2. #2
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    There are a couple of things to add ,the front derailluer diameter and bottom bracket may be different. Don't have any time on any niner so can't help . Could you test ride the Air ? How much does he want for the EMD? Are you going to do the swap?The shop could charge a couple of $$$$ to do it.

  3. #3
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    I am going to stay with my 1x10 so there is not a front derailleur. I am using a 73mm GXP BB which the Niner should accept. The shop does want a $100 for the build.

  4. #4
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    So what aspect of the EMD do you find favorable over your Hardrock? They are both aluminum frame, XC geo, right? At least the Air9 supposedly has the forgiveness similar to steel or even the Magic Carpet or SIR9 ARE steel.

    Seems like not enough of a significance to justify the change since it'll cost you the frame price, seatpost and clamp and headset? Then the cost of labor? I'd want more of a change to justify the $$.
    Just get out and ride!

  5. #5
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    Why do you want to do a frame change? The Hardrock is actually a really good all around frame.
    Do you want different geometry, lower weight, or what?

  6. #6
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    I would keep the hardrock, both bikes will be very similar. Their geometry's are almost identical (within easy cockpit changes). Not really anything to gain, unless you really want the niner over the specialized as a winter project.

    It sounds like you bought a bike and upgraded the wheels, drivetrain, seatpost, seat, handlebar, and fork. the only thing's stockon the Hardrock are the frame, crankset, pedals, and headset? If you like the looks of the niner more and you've done this work yourself, buy the frame, swap over parts, put the hardrock back together and sell the hardrock. If you've paid your LBS to do it, keep the hardrock as is, ride it till you bust something major, swap the parts; then sell the hardrock.

  7. #7
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    I had originally wanted to try and lose a little weight. The bike is already under 26lbs so it probably not that big of deal. I had wanted to put the hardrock back together, but some of the stock parts were beat up pretty well since it was my first MTB. I am really leaning on keeping the hardrock for now. Thanks to everyone that has weighed in.

  8. #8
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    I assume that you have the hardrock 29er frame. Have you thought about the chinese carbon 29er frames?

  9. #9
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    I upgradeitised my '08 Hardrock. I bought a shiny new bike this summer, but I was out on the Hardrock on Tuesday.

    There are a couple things I sometimes wonder about with my Hardrock vs. a higher-end hardtail. In particular, I don't feel like the Big S made much of an effort with the chainstays - they're pretty long - and the bike could stand to have a slacker head angle, though I partly did that to myself.

    I'm typing with my thumbs right now so I'll let you hunt down the geometry charts yourself. I think materials and weight differences are overrated, but there may be a geometry difference you'd care about.

    Otherwise, these bikes were certainly built to last a long time. There're a pretty insane number of old Hardrocks and Rockhoppers still out on the roads. Maybe fewer on the trails, but I think that has more to do with people wanting toys than the longevity of the frames.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    I was thinking that I wanted a slightly more "racy" style geometry. I have reviewed the geometry charts and compared the hardrock to several other models. The things that do jump out are the chainstay length, top tube length and headtube angle. I added an additional 20 mm of susspension travel to the bike which may actually help the head tube angle. When redoing the cockpit I managed to lengthen and lower the handlebar height which put me in a more aggressive position. There is not a lot I can do about the chainstay length. Honestly, it seems like everyone has a different opinion on chainstay length and it is not something I notice.

    I figure it will cost me about $400 to complete the build. It seems that may be money better spent a few years down the road on a new bike

  11. #11
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    If you want to get a racy geo, and drop some weight check out the carbon stumpjumper 29er HT frames. 1,070g with hanger, and clamp. and it has a very racy geo. I am sure that the hardrock frame is at least a pound heavier.

  12. #12
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    I have been afraid of carbon frames until I become a more experienced rider. One of the main and most accessible trails is near an old rock quarry. There are a lot of rocks in the area and I would be afraid to scrape a carbon frame on a rock and ruin it.

  13. #13
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    If you want racier, spacer your fork back down.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    If you add spacers to reduce travel does the height of the front drop while the bike is standing?

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    Re: Frame Upgrade

    I wouldn't spend money on it unless I had lots of cash lying around. You could check out the Chinese carbon frame, $380,shipped. There is a crazy big thread on here people sharing their experiences with it

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisonabike View Post
    If you add spacers to reduce travel does the height of the front drop while the bike is standing?
    Yup.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    FWIW: I did a frame swap from a Gravity 29Point5 to a Niner EMD and felt a difference.

  18. #18
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    EMD is a pretty stiff frame even for an AL frame. If that's what you like.
    I think that Niner switched to a tapered head tube with the 2012 model (otherwise your current fork won't fit without a converter). So in some ways this frame is now outdated versus the current model. But that shouldn't matter to you except as a bargaining point.
    Given that the manager probably paid the wholesale price of about $250 for it, I think that if you can get it for about $200-$250 you should be happy with the "new bike."
    I would do it.
    Last edited by borabora; 11-08-2013 at 09:48 AM.

  19. #19
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    What options are out there for headset and bottom bracket conversions? If your new frame has a different headtube, for example going from 1 1/8 strait to a tapered headtube what kind of headset do you need to keep the old strait steerer fork?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AUSTIN672 View Post
    What options are out there for headset and bottom bracket conversions? If your new frame has a different headtube, for example going from 1 1/8 strait to a tapered headtube what kind of headset do you need to keep the old strait steerer fork?
    There are a ton. What are you trying to do?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    The 73mm gxp bottom bracket that is on my bike now should swap over. Since I want to put the Hardrock back together I was going to buy a new headset and leave the stock one in the HR. I was going to do a 40 series Cane Creek headset. CC seem to be well priced but solid. Both head tubes are meant for a 1 1/8th straight fork so the swap should be straightforward.

    Still have not bought the frame. It was still in the shop last week. Contemplating on going in next week. I did get to look the frame over and it does seem to be in better shape cosmetically than my frame. The matte black paint on the HR looks like it has been through a war as I have learned to ride over my first year.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    EMD is a pretty stiff frame even for an AL frame. If that's what you like.
    I think that Niner switched to a tapered head tube with the 2012 model (otherwise your current fork won't fit without a converter). So in some ways this frame is now outdated versus the current model. But that shouldn't matter to you except as a bargaining point.
    Given that the manager probably paid the wholesale price of about $250 for it, I think that if you can get it for about $200-$250 you should be happy with the "new bike."
    I would do it.
    I wouldn't buy one of the older Scandium Air 9 frames (there have been too many broken frames with big guys riding them for my risk averse self), but if it is one of the newer hydroformed Air 9 frames, I really like those. The newest EMD is very similar with the major differences being the rear stays being hydroformed on the Air 9 and not so on the EMD, the bottom bracket on the EMD is threaded and PF30 on the Air 9, the headset on the Air 9 is 'integrated' vs. 'semi-integrated' on the EMD, and the finishes on the two have some differences (but I really like the hot tamale EMD).

    The Niner Air 9 hydroformed frames are a little on the stiff side for an average size rider, but being a good size clydesdale, it was very comfy to me. They carve turns like they're made of butter, and felt totally neutral. I really like them. One of my favorite hardtail frames, and I imagine the EMD is pretty similar. I actually like that the EMD has a standard bottom bracket rather than a press-fit type and I have no qualms with a semi-integrated headset either.

  23. #23
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    It is a 2011 EMD. The one with round tubing. They have a 73mm bb shell and are not threaded. They have a 1 1/8th press fit headset.

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